You've heard of the iPod, the iPhone, the iPod Nano -- well
how about the iFire?
Danny Williams of Douglasville, Georgia was the proud owner of a year and a
half old iPod Nano. He frequently listened to the device while working at
his kiosk job at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
While at his job, Danny Williams reported experiencing
a shocking incident. He was sitting at his kiosk when he felt something
hot. He looked down and saw flames jumping up towards his chest. He
was able to put out the blaze, but it left a burn hole in his pants. The
cause appears to be his iPod Nano which had been resting in his pocket.
The only other contents of his pockets, a glossy piece of paper Williams
believes protected his legs from much of the blaze.
Relatively unharmed, the Georgia native was nonetheless shaken up. His
iPod perished in the fire. Despite the scare, he was still able to poke a
bit of fun at the incident though. "If [Transportation and Safety
Administration] had come by and seen me smoking, they could have honestly
thought I was a terrorist," Williams said.
Williams claims Apple contacted him and requested that he send his iPod back
for replacement. Williams currently has not.
Williams' mother contacted the news because she felt the incident could have
been far more harmful under different circumstances. "It could have
happened when we were sleeping, it could have happened when he was driving and
the outcome could have been much worse," Elaine Williams said.
The iPod Nano uses a lithium-Ion battery. There have been numerous
recalls of Li-Ion laptop batteries since 2006 including recalls by Apple, Dell,
Lenovo, and Toshiba. William's iPod battery does not list the manufacturer.
WSB-TV, the Georgia station that ran the story, reported that their attempts to
contact Apple were met with silence. Apple would not comment on the
safety of its batteries or how many more iFires might be occurring in the near
future. Apple has announced no recalls of iPod Nano batteries, yet.
For a video report about the incident, go
Donald R. Sadoway, Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT weighed
in on the debate by tying it to the latest concerns
about the quality
of Chinese manufactured goods. He says that despite being a
relatively long-standing technology, in place since the 1990s, Lithium-Ion
batteries have recently become dangerous. "As we've moved the
technology from Japan to China, we've seen a decrease in reliability, said Sadoway.
“That's not to say that because it comes from China it's of inferior quality,
but I don't think anyone would be surprised to learn that quality varies widely
in Chinese factories."The incident is the latest in a long string of less than
positive media coverage of the Cupertino based Apple Inc., including iPhone price cuts
leading to disgruntled users, iPhone
"bricking", and possible class action